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CHICAGO-IDEO has leased 20,442 square feet to become the first tenant signed at 626 W. Jackson since its multi-million dollar rehab. The design firm will move to the 108,000-square-foot West Loop building in the third quarter of this year. In the past year, the eight-story building underwent significant redevelopment, including work to its building systems, lobby, elevators and common areas.

“The unique thing about 626 W. Jackson is that there’s no other new recently renovated loft buildings in the West Loop,” says Menahem Deitcher, a principal of the Deitcher Group, which is coordinating leasing of the building. “For people looking for exposed brick and wood beam ceilings, there’s nothing else available in this submarket, so our activity has been very good.” The Deitcher Group began showing the property to prospective tenants about nine months ago.

The property was purchased from the Chicago Housing Authority a year ago by Sterling Bay Cos. in partnership with Deitcher’s firm for $7.7 million, sources say. The CHA, which previously occupied the entire building, relocated its headquarters to 60 E. Van Buren in summer 2007. IDEO signed a 10-year lease for its space on the top two floors of the building, which was first built in the early-20th century. The move will double the size of the Palo Alto, CA-based company’s Chicago office, which is currently located in Evanston.

“They wanted to move from Evanston to Chicago to get closer to the trains so they can tap into a larger employment and talent pool, and you have to keep people near public transportation,” Deitcher says. “They’re a design firm and they wanted the loft feel. Their top floor has its own private roof deck and outdoor space, and they also have skylights in their interior space.”

The building offers spaces ranging in size between 6,000 and 30,000 square feet. Asking lease rates are around $27 to $28 per square foot, gross. Deitcher says he expects leases to be signed for the second, third, fourth and sixth floors within the next few weeks. Occupancy rates in the West Loop submarket are around 90%, according to Transwestern’s 2008 year-end report.

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